The Woman We Didn't Learn About in Sunday School



The first time I saw the original Jurassic Park movie I was curious about it. Of course it’s fiction, but there is just something about dinosaurs that capture our imagination isn’t there? Then the little girl would just stand in place and scream every time a velociraptor jumped out of a cupboard and my curiosity turned to annoyance.

Then there is Mary Jane in the first Spiderman movie with Toby Maguire. As the arachnid crusader saves the world from the Green Goblin, Mary Jane freezes and screams her head off leaving poor Spidey to save her.

Add to these movies any slasher movie with teen girls standing immobile and screaming but doing nothing to save themselves and you will have one of my pet peeves. I mean, none of these young women are even trying to help themselves!

Now to be fair, I have never found myself with velociraptors working their way into a locked kitchen to get me. Or the Green Goblin whizzing around me. Or Mike Myers hunting me down. But I feel I confident I would run, kick, punch or something.

These are all young women too. Perhaps they don’t have the life experience or knowledge to be prepared for velociraptors, Green Goblins or Mike Myers. Wisdom comes from experience, knowledge and for the real world we live in, a relationship with God.

Let’s talk about a woman in the Bible you didn’t hear about in Sunday School. An unnamed woman who only gets eight verses with her story. But those eight verses give us so much information to learn from. I would like to introduce you to this amazing woman known only as the Wise Woman in 2 Samuel 20.

Once again, King David is facing a rebellion. This time from a known troublemaker, Sheba. The King has called his troops together to find this traitor, which they do in Abel of Beth-maacah.

And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah. They cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down. Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.’” And he came near her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” And he answered, “I am listening.”” 2 Samuel 20:15-17

They are bashing in the door to her city! And what does she do? Calls out from the city and asks for Joab and asks him to listen. In these verses she is humble, she is respectful and he hears her. This is amazing in and of itself, because Joab really isn’t very nice. While he had been commanding King David’s army for a while, that duty had just been taken from him. So what does he do? He murders his way right back to the top. Now this unnamed woman is asking him to listen and he does! Her demeanor of respect and humility won him over.

Then she said, “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter. I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?” Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.”” 2 Samuel 20:18-21a

This Wise Woman is knowledgable. She is familiar with the history and importance of her city. She is direct in her verbiage, but she is also shrewd. She makes sure Joab remembers the heritage and significance of Abel of Beth-maacah. And if he doesn’t she has the information to remind him!

What we will read next is exactly why we didn’t hear this story in Sunday school as children.

“And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.” 2 Samuel 20:21b-22

Let that sink in! She convinced the town to behead Sheba and throw his head over the wall! It’s like a scene from Game of Thrones, barbaric in its action. But this Wise Woman wasn’t a barbarian, not at all. She was simply a woman who had strong convictions for her God, her city and her family.

Let’s go back and look closer. Imagine you are going about your day and then there is this thundering noise at the gates of your city. You run outside to see what it is and realize this is Trouble. Some of us would stand there, immobile and scream, others of us might run, but this woman with little time for thought, asked for the leader of the King’s army in the most humble and respectful way possible. She went on to make an appeal that was both thoughtful and informative. Again without time to form a plan. Then when she needed action, she promised the head of the man the army was after.

Friends, this is courage. This is bold. This is wisdom.

As I have been studying this passage, this woman, I can’t help but reflect on what allowed her to react in this way. It couldn’t just happen. This wise woman, must have years of experience and many lesser threats so she was prepared for this moment. She must have had a strong prayer life and felt close to God to be bold enough to put her own life on the line to save her city. Her demeanor and verbiage demanded that Joab hear her. Her lifestyle had to build trust with those around her, because the people of the city listened to her advice right away.

The tools she used to be successful and wise are available to us. But they won’t just happen. She was bold and courageous, she was humble and respectful and she was knowledgeable and quick to act. What do we need to do to be wise women when a threat arises?

Be calm - only through our relationship with the Holy Spirit is that possible. While she may not have had the Holy Spirit, she showed a knowledge of God and a relationship with Him. She was human, not super-natural, so she must have known Him well.

Knowledge - they say knowledge is power and she certainly proves that. Our knowledge comes from the living, breathing word of our God. Where everything we need to know is. But we have to know His word, to feel its power.

Be bold and courageous - have a relationship so close to the Spirit, that you can hear Him through the noise of your threat. She ignored the noise and did what she had to do.

Be humble and respectful - it is never about us. It is always about Jesus; humble, respectful and kindness will open the ears of the those leading the threat. Joab was not a nice man, but he heard this woman through the noise.

Know our convictions - it’s so much easier to fight for something when you are passionate about it. Clearly she loved her city and its occupants. She was willing to die to save them from certain destruction if nothing was done.

Ladies, we are threatened every day from our enemy. He is good at what he does. He thrives on our weakness. But if we, like this wise woman, spend time with God and arm ourselves with the calm, knowledge, courage, humility and passion needed for our convictions we too can stand up to the threats Satan throws at us.

How will you face the threat of evil, of Satan? Frozen with screams, or with wise and respectful words and calm action that support your convictions?

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